Sir Ari Gold: Stripped and Remixed
BY Jase Peeples
June 04 2013 6:00 AM ET
Whether he's including explicitly gay lyrics on his self-titled debut album in 2000, or running naked through the streets of New York for his latest music video, “Play My F**k'n Record,” Sir Ari Gold has never shied away from courting controversy. His fearless attitude and undeniable talent have earned the musician numerous accolades over the past decade, including the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts' Visionary Award and an official knighthood from one of the oldest civil rights organizations in existence, the Imperial Court of New York. With his sixth studio album, Play My F**k'n Remix, out today, the openly gay singer-songwriter shares his inspiration, talks about being an out artist, and doing whatever it takes to get folks to play his, ahem, record.
The Advocate: What inspired you to revisit this specific collection of songs for a remix album?
Sir Ari Gold: When I got down to it, I realized dance music has such an important place in the history of gay rights. It’s been the soundtrack of our freedom. My own coming out and coming of age happened in the clubs and on the dance floor. So this album plays tribute to all of that. It’s sort of a "best of" collection, but I call it a remix retrospective because it pays respect to the past with an ear to the future. It’s a combination of some new and old remixes, plus a couple of new tracks too.
You were the singing voice of BaNee on Jem and the Holograms. How did you become involved in that show?
I was already a humongous fan of Jem before I got the part. I sang professionally since I was 6 years old, and I did a lot of work for the people who wrote many of those songs on Jem. They knew what a fan I was, so when there was an opportunity for the voice of a child, they called me and I played and 8-year-old Vietnamese girl. [Laughs] It really has been one of my career highlights, though, because I’m still a huge Jem fan.
Samantha Newark, the speaking voice of Jem, has said she’d love to collaborate with you on a future project. Any chance of the two of you teaming up in the future?
Of course! I’d love to do anything with her. We need to do some sort of reunion of the singing voices from the show soon.
While filming the video for “Play My F**k'n Record,” you ran around the streets of New York City naked. What motivated you to bare it all in the Big Apple?
Yes, I was fully naked for parts of it — which is illegal, so I’m lucky I didn’t get arrested. [Laughs] But it’s camp, and I feel like camp has been co-opted by heterosexuals, and I think gay people need to reclaim our camp roots. Also, it came out of the impetus of the song, which is [that] I want people to play my fucking record. It’s sort of poking fun at that feeling of desperation that many of us independent gay artists feel. A good group of us are just as talented as the mainstream artists out there, and our work doesn’t get the attention that it should. So the video is sort of a calling card for all independent LGBT artists.
Were you nervous before you started shooting the video?
I really wasn’t. Of course, there were people walking on the streets who were giggling and others snapping pictures with their iPhones, but it was actually very liberating and it was like I was on a high afterwards. I felt completely free.
So you can now cross “running through the streets of New York naked” off your bucket list.
Yes! Also, another first I did for the video was getting dressed up in full drag. So that’s another thing I’m willing to do to get people to play my fucking record.
Well, I guess you could say voicing BaNee on Jem was a sort of vocal drag.
[Laughs] Absolutely! It’s funny, because I actually did the voices of many girls when I was younger, before my voice changed, but this was the first time I officially had done the full getup.